All five members of Cache Creek council were present at the regular meeting on Aug. 17, which began at 7 p.m.
EMBC response funding
Coun. Sue Peters reported that she had attended an Emergency Management BC webinar about response funding, and was pleased to find that the Village had a better handle on it than many other municipalities, despite the fact that Cache Creek was “learning on the fly” during this spring’s flood response.
There was only one minor change to the draft of the 2019 Annual Report, and council will hold a public meeting on Monday, Aug. 31 to review it. The meeting will be held in the council chambers and will be livestreamed so that members of the public can view it and ask questions during the meeting. Copies of the draft 2019 Annual Report can be viewed on the Village website (http://www.village.cachecreek.bc.ca/) or obtained at the Village office, and questions can be submitted in advance (email firstname.lastname@example.org).
Coun. Wendy Coomber said that she had arranged a meeting with the BC Interior Community Foundation and would be bringing more information back to council about what is involved in setting up a Community Foundation for the Village.
There was some discussion about the dates of the council meetings in November/December, specifically as regards the timing of the 2022 municipal election. Coomber asked whether there was consideration for adding meetings in July and August; traditionally there is only one meeting instead of two in each month. CAO Martin Dalsin noted the number of special meetings in summer 2020, and said that things were getting “busier and busier”, so this could be looked at. It was also clarified that while council members can attend any committee meetings, unless they are part of the committee they cannot participate.
There was discussion about how best to facilitate public attendance at council meetings, given the lack of space in the council chamber. While a recent Ministerial Order from the Province allows municipal governments certain leeway regarding public attendance, Peters noted the need to be transparent and allow members of the public to participate in meetings, particularly as COVID-19 restrictions will probably be in place for some time.
Mayor Santo Talarico suggested that if members of the public wanted to attend a council meeting they could contact the Village office in advance to say that they were coming, and that if large numbers of people were expected then a larger venue could be arranged. He also said that the HUB Online Network was putting the meetings online, although Coun. Annette Pittman noted that not everyone has access to a computer. Talarico replied that people could use computers at the library.
Subdivision and Development Servicing bylaw revision
Dalsin said that there are three separate subdivision developments in Cache Creek under discussion, and that the current bylaw dates back to 1984, adding that requirements have changed considerably over the past 36 years. Council passed a motion to allow TRUE Consulting to provide consulting services regarding revision of the bylaw at a cost of $26,000, with Dalsin noting that the funding is in the budget.
Sewage treatment plant odours
A discussion about options to mitigate odours from the sewage treatment plant was moved in camera. A report from staff that formed part of the agenda noted that odour from the plant has become a serious concern.
After the meeting, Dalsin told the Journal that during the in camera discussion, staff had been directed to investigate two mitigation options with regard to cost and efficacy, and to bring the report back to council at a future meeting.
Fire department request
A request from the Cache Creek Volunteer Fire Department for free use of the coverall and waiving of the damage deposit for a members and family barbecue on Sept. 13 ran into a snag, when it was determined that three of the five council members needed to recuse themselves from the discussion because of conflict of interest. All three have personal relationships with members of the CCVFD, and the request has financial implications. CFO Cristina Martini felt that there was no need for the recusals, as they were not asking for the benefit for themselves, but Dalsin noted there was precedent as there was a financial aspect.
However, in the absence of a quorum there was no way to make a motion regarding the request without obtaining a court order. It was noted that the public is free to use the coverall, but anyone wanting exclusive use must book it and pay the appropriate fee. It was eventually decided to tell the CCVFD to simply go ahead and hold their barbecue as planned without council waiving the usage and damage deposit fees, as it was unlikely that anyone would have an issue with that. “The advice that I’m going to be giving to the fire department is ‘It’s an open public facility, if you want to use it go ahead. If you want to book it for your personal use you’ll have to pay the fee,’” Dalsin explained when the three recused members of council returned to the meeting.
Coomber announced that the select committee for Emergency Management will be meeting with representatives from the area to brainstorm regarding flood mitigation ideas. Members of the Bonaparte Indian Band, the Thompson-Nicola Regional District, and the Ministry of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resources had been invited, so that a list of ideas could be brought back to council for follow-up.
Talarico also asked if staff could start looking into obtaining more personal protective equipment in the event of a second wave of COVID-19. Dalsin responded that that was already underway.
Dalsin said that later this year, BC Hydro is scheduled to start replacing all their street lighting in Cache Creek with LED lighting, which will probably be a multi-year project.
Under “New Business”, Martini expressed her frustration over a phone call she received from Pittman, regarding letters that were sent out to all businesses in Cache Creek which had not yet paid their 2020 property taxes, due by Sept. 30.
The letters showed the outstanding balance of taxes owed, and were meant as reminders; they were sent because COVID-19 has resulted in an extension of the date when taxes are normally due.
Martini described the phone call as very rude, which Pittman disputes. Pittman, who has personal interests in more than one Cache Creek business, said she was calling as a business owner and taxpayer, not as a councillor. “You were very rude as a taxpayer, and did not understand the difference between ‘outstanding’ and ‘overdue’,” replied Martini. Pittman noted that she had been “very upset”, and seemed to be claiming that the letter she had seen differed from what other businesses had received.
Martini said this was not the case, and asked if Pittman was calling her a liar, to which the answer was “Yes.” Talarico asked Pittman to bring in the letter she had received, and ended the exchange by commending Martini for sending out the reminder letters to everyone. “We’re very appreciative of your efforts as CFO and employee.” The Journal later confirmed that there are some $120,000 in property taxes (business and residential) still outstanding in Cache Creek for the 2020 tax year.
The meeting went in camera at 7:46 p.m.
Minutes and agendas for all Cache Creek council meetings can be found on the Village website at http://www.village.cachecreek.bc.ca/.
The next regular meeting of Cache Creek council will be held on Monday, Sept. 14 at 7 p.m. at the Village office on Quartz Road.